Baron Scheffer

An interesting article appeared in the Newcastle Courant on Saturday the 30th of March 1754.  Although Baron Scheffer was a Swedish diplomat and not directly involved in the production of metalware, he made an interesting report regarding the introduction of kitchen utensils made of iron rather than of copper and brass.

It is clear from Baron Scheffer’s report, below, that the dangers of ingesting Verdigris ( the thin layer of cuprous oxide that develops on the surface of copper and copper alloys during prolonged exposure to moist air) had been fully recognised by the mid 18th century:

1 Response

  1. The deleterious effects of using copper-based mortars was causing concern to one William Bullein as early as 1562 when he advised apothecaries “to avoid stynking brass” and many raised similar concerns until such mortars were superceded in the late 18th century by the introduction of Wedgwood’s stoneware composition mortars. The last dated copper alloy mortar known to the author is of 1818, but Hannah Glasse in her The Art of Cookery, in 1791, was still encouraging the use of copper cooking vessels to impart an enhanced green colour to her green pickle.
    For a detailed discussion of the concerns expressed over this whole period, with references, see my book, English Decorated Bronze Mortars, (ISBN-13:9781872477022), Plains Books, 2010, pp. 12-13.

Leave a Reply

error: This content is copyright and protected !!